How TikTokers disrupted sleepy village where Brian Chira was buried

On Tuesday, March 26, TikToker Brian Chira was laid to rest on his grandmother’s ancestral land in Gitei village, Gathanje, Kiambu County.

The burial ceremony drew a crowd of prominent figures from the content creating community, known as the “Chira Clan,” and left the villagers astonished.

They had never seen such a large and unruly crowd of young people. Some of the mourners showed little respect for village elders.

Normally, Brian, 23, would have been buried by his immediate family, schoolmates and a few neighbors. But that was not the case, as even the religious leaders were denied the opportunity to lead the service at the gravesite. Disorder broke out as hundreds of TikTokers gathered around the grave, some of them drunk and reckless.

Villagers and even family members stood back, allowing them to bury their friend without fully understanding what was happening. Instead of simply covering the grave with earth, they scattered it and began to plant flowers. They danced, recorded videos and took selfies around Chira’s resting place.

Nairobi News spoke to some of the neighbours who expressed their disapproval of what had happened.

One villager was particularly saddened by the TikTokers’ use of strong words like “Hatuna maisha” (We have no lives).

“We only want the best for our children, because we never want to see what we saw today. It was a bad scene. The family wasn’t even allowed to bury their loved one with dignity. We want our children to come home with the respect they left with,” she said.

They hope to never see such behaviour in their village again.

“We are calling on our village to hold a cleansing ceremony to remove any negative spirits left behind.”

What upset them the most?

“We didn’t like the way they dressed, smoked and drank alcohol in front of us. They didn’t even respect the clergy. They were disrespecting our Kikuyu traditions, and we’ve never seen that before. They urinated everywhere. That’s not the way we were brought up. We’re worried about their future and how they’re going to raise their own children. It was a struggle even for the church to get access to the grave site. They don’t seem to know what they’re doing.

When asked if they blamed their upbringing, another villager said: “I wouldn’t blame their background because many of them were well brought up. After 18 years, we let them go out into the world, and that’s where they pick up this behavior. They’re mixing the church and the world. It didn’t feel like a funeral; they seemed to be celebrating. Taking selfies and coming here drunk wasn’t appropriate.”

Chira tragically lost his life in a hit-and-run accident in Karuri, Kiambu County. A friend who was with him explained that Chira had been to a local club and had had too much to drink. Unable to pay for a ride home, and with his phone in the possession of another friend, he asked someone else for a ride.

Another villager expressed: “Brian was a young man who deserved a respectful funeral. It’s heartbreaking to see TikTokers celebrating and dancing. We wonder if they really respected him. Chira left nothing behind, not even a child. We didn’t let our own children come here. We are afraid they will pick up this behaviour.

Following his death, the TikTok community rallied together and raised over Sh10 million to support Chira’s grandmother, part of which will be used to buy land and build her a house, fulfilling Chira’s wish to have a comfortable home.

Chira was laid to rest next to his great-grandfather, and the villagers watched as the content creators stepped on their graves.

After the burial, TikTokers performed rituals at Chira’s grave site, including watering the flowers with alcohol.

“In Kikuyu culture, we don’t step on graves, dance around them, or drink alcohol there. They should go back to church because despite his fame, Brian is nothing after today; he’s left nothing to show that he ever existed,” said one of the angry villagers.

Chira’s funeral was attended by politicians including Mumias East MP Peter Salasya, musicians Otile Brown, Justina Syokau, TikTokers: Baba Talisha, Tizian Savage, Prince Mwiti, Manzi wa Mombasa, Lupita Nyakisum, Jude Magambo, Hanna Benta and others.

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